You are currently viewing Strength Moves For Women Over 40: Lunges, Deadlifts, Rows

Strength Moves For Women Over 40: Lunges, Deadlifts, Rows

Welcome back to our fitness series, where we’re all about empowering women over 40 to feel stronger and more vibrant daily!

If you caught our introductory post, “Strength Training Exercises for Women over 40,” you know we will discuss strength training. Today, we’re diving into the first three game-changing exercises I mentioned previously: lunges, deadlifts, and rows. These are not just workouts; they are the building blocks for a stronger, more resilient you. Let’s break each one down and get you moving!

Lunges: Leg-Day Heroes—Feel the burn

Lunges are the foundation for any strength training regimen. They focus on your quads, hamstrings, and glutes, enhancing your legs’ strength and overall balance, which are important as we age. I will spend a little bit more time on lunges since we are talking about working the largest muscle group in the body. Essentially, this section is about the legs—lunges and squats.

How to do a Perfect Lunge:

Starting Position: Stand tall with your feet together and hands on your hips or sides.

Step Forward: Take a big step forward with one leg; ensure your torso is straight and upright. Ensure that your step is large enough that when you bend both knees, your front knee is aligned directly over your ankle.

Lower Your Body: Lower your body until your front thigh is parallel to the ground and your back knee is close to touching the floor. Maintain an upright posture and do not tilt forward.

Push Back: Push off your front foot, using the heel to provide strength, to return to the starting position.

Repeat: Perform the same movement with the opposite leg. Alternate legs for each repetition.

For Beginners: If you’re just starting with lunges, aim for 8-10 repetitions on each leg. This approach helps you maintain proper technique while building foundational strength at a manageable pace.

For Strength Building: To further develop your strength, perform 6-12 reps per leg, possibly adding resistance like dumbbells or a weighted vest. For those focusing on heavier loads, keep your reps between 6 and 8 to ensure you’re challenging your muscles effectively while still maintaining good form.

Tips for Better Form:

  • Maintain a tight core during the exercise to preserve balance and enhance stability.
  • Keep your front knee behind your toes to avoid placing excessive strain on the knee.
  • Execute each movement with control and precision, concentrating on the muscle groups involved.

Exercise to Combine with Lunges for Effective Leg Workouts: Squats are excellent for pairing lunges for a comprehensive leg workout. Here’s how you can perform squats:

Starting Position: Stand with your feet precisely shoulder-width apart, toes pointing slightly outward. You can keep your hands stretched out in front for balance or behind your head.

Lower Your Body: Bend both your knees and hips to gradually lower your body as if you’re easing into an invisible chair. Keep your back straight and chest up. Lower down until your thighs are at least parallel to the floor.

Push-up: Drive through your heels to return to the starting stance, ensuring your back remains straight and your core is engaged.

Repeat: Perform multiple repetitions.

Adding lunges to your routine, especially with squats, can significantly boost your functional strength, making daily activities easier and more manageable. This combination offers an intense leg workout that effectively targets and strengthens multiple muscle groups, including the largest muscle group in your body—the leg muscles. Specifically, it works the quadriceps, hamstrings, and gluteal muscles–essential for walking, running, and jumping and play a key role in balance and stability.

Deadlifts: More Than Just Lifting

Performing deadlifts safely and effectively involves paying close attention to your form and technique. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you nail down the proper execution of deadlifts while maximizing your workout gains.

Mastering the Deadlift:

Setup and Stance: Stand with your feet about hip-width apart. Your feet should be under the barbell so the bar is about an inch from your shins and crosses over the middle of your feet.

Grip and Bar Position: Flex your hips and knees and hold the bar with your hands set a bit wider than your shoulders. You can opt for either an overhand grip or a mixed grip. Ensure your back is straight and your chest is up.

Lifting Phase:

o   Push up using your heels while lifting the bar by straightening your hips and knees.

o   Keep the bar close to your body to minimize strain on your back.

o   As you lift, ensure your hips and shoulders rise simultaneously.

Top of the Lift:

o   At the top of the lift, push your chest out and pull your shoulders back without hyperextending your back.

o   The bar should end up around the height of your hips, with your arms hanging naturally.

Lowering the Bar:

o   To reverse the movement, start by bending at the hips, followed by bending the knees

o   Keep your back flat as you lower the bar to the ground.

Best Exercise Combo with Deadlifts

Combining exercises is a strategic approach to enhance your workout routine’s effectiveness. When incorporating deadlifts into your regimen, pairing them with complementary exercises like squats and rows can yield significant benefits. Squats target lower body strength, complementing the pulling motion of deadlifts. At the same time, rows engage the back muscles, enhancing overall strength and posture. Integrating bench presses into the routine also ensures a balanced workout encompassing upper and lower body muscle groups. By diversifying your exercises and incorporating rows alongside deadlifts and squats, you can achieve a well-rounded strength training routine that optimizes muscle development and functional fitness.

Body Shaping Effects

Deadlifts pack a serious punch when it comes to shaping your body, offering a range of benefits. Firstly, they’re great for packing on muscle mass since they engage several major muscle groups, which boosts your metabolism and helps torch fat. Secondly, regular deadlifts do wonders for your posture and core strength, beefing up your back muscles and stabilizing your core, thus reducing the chances of back injuries. Integrating deadlifts into your exercise routine can significantly enhance your strength, muscle development, and overall physique, establishing them as a crucial component of a comprehensive workout plan.

Rows: Build Your Back, Boost Your Confidence

Rows fortify your upper body, focusing on your back muscles like the latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, and traps, which are crucial for maintaining good posture and reducing back pain. Here’s a step-by-step guide on safely performing rows, followed by a brief discussion of effective exercise combinations, the muscles worked, and the benefits of body-shaping.

How to Perform Rows Safely

Set Up Properly: Start by keeping your back straight, whether you’re using a barbell, dumbbell, or rowing machine. If you’re standing, bend your knees slightly to stay steady.

Grip and Position: Grip the weight with both hands about shoulder-width apart. When using a machine, keep adjusting the seat and handles to match your height.

The Pull: Lean forward from your hips, keeping your back straight. Pull the weights towards your lower rib cage while squeezing your shoulder blades together. Your elbows should go directly behind you, not out to the sides.

Maintain Form: Ensure that your head stays aligned with your spine, and avoid excessive rounding or arching of the back. Your core should be engaged to support your lower back.

Return and Repeat: Gradually lower the weights back to the original position in a controlled manner. Avoid letting them drop quickly, which can strain muscles.

Rows not only strengthen your back but can also be effectively combined with exercises like the clean and press. Deadlifts work the entire posterior chain (back, glutes, hamstrings), which synergizes well with rows for a more dynamic and comprehensive workout. In our final post of this series, we’ll explore how to integrate these three powerful movements.

Body Shaping Effects

Improving posture is one of the key benefits of strengthening the back muscles, particularly for individuals with sedentary lifestyles. By dedicating time to back exercises, such as rows and extensions, you can help maintain proper alignment, even after extended periods of sitting. Additionally, developing well-defined back muscles enhances the aesthetic appeal of the upper body, creating a broader and more tapered appearance that is desirable for both men and women. Beyond aesthetics, these muscles also play a crucial role in functional strength, supporting everyday tasks like lifting and pulling. Strengthening the back reduces the risk of injury and enhances overall physical performance in daily activities.

Looking Ahead

These exercises are just the beginning of building a robust and capable physique. In our next post, we’ll delve into Bench Presses, Pull-Ups, Lat Pull Downs, and Chest Fly exercises, each designed to enhance your strength and vitality further. Whether you’re a fitness pro or just starting out, these next exercises will continue to empower your journey to feel great in your forties and beyond.

Stay tuned, and let’s keep the momentum going! Together, we’re not just aging; we’re upgrading!




Leave a Reply